ACLU Foundations of California v. AT&T and Verizon
The ACLU Foundations of California has sued telecommunications giants AT&T and Verizon to stop them from continuing to provide the National Security Agency (NSA) with the personal phone records of millions of California customers.
Since September 11, 2001, the telephone companies have been providing the NSA with customers' records, including phone numbers for incoming and outgoing calls, and time, date, and duration of each call. This information was turned over without customers’ knowledge or consent, and without any court order, warrant, or other proper legal process.
The three California ACLU Foundations of California (Northern California, Southern California, and San Diego & Imperial Counties) filed the lawsuits on behalf of 17 individual plaintiffs and more than 100,000 ACLU members statewide. Nationwide, 20 other ACLU affiliates have filed complaints with local Public Utility Commissions, state attorneys general, and other officials demanding investigations into whether local telecommunications companies allowed the NSA to spy on their customers.
In addition, to the ACLU Foundations of California's lawsuits, numerous private suits have been filed, all of which have been consolidated for pretrial purposes before Judge R. Vaughn Walker of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California. On August 30, 2007, Judge Walker will be hearing argument on motions to dismiss the lawsuits against Verizon. The Bush Administration is asking the Court to dismiss all of the cases filed against Verizon on the ground that the lawsuits are barred by the state secrets privilege. Verizon seeks dismissal of the suits on numerous grounds, including the novel claim that its action in turning over customer records to the government is protected by the First Amendment.